Our Board

Michelle Chackerian, Treasurer

Michelle Chackerian is CREA’s Board Treasurer and a member of the organization’s founding Board of Directors. Michelle first came to Limón many years ago with her family and immediately fell in love with the town’s people, community, and passion for life. Michelle has worked with numerous grassroots organizations in rural Nicaragua, including the Foundation for Sustainable Development, where she funded an international internship program to bring cultural exchange and grants to the community. When visiting the homes and schools in the community, she noticed a lack of access to books and excitement for reading. An avid reader herself, she fell in love with the idea of helping to create a destination where children and adults can immerse themselves in reading and learning. She also noticed a need for youth development with a focus on leadership, education, and college access, and helped expand a small youth group into a strong CREA program. As the founder of a medical services company, BMC Diagnostics, Michelle provides critical operations and fund development support for the organization.

Favorite Book: Margaret Mitchell, “Gone with the Wind”

Scott Hagg, Secretary

Scott and his wife, Tessa Gunther, first visited Nicaragua in 2007 and they immediately fell in love with the country and its people. Since 2010 they have been spending about half of each year at their Nicaraguan home and half in Minnesota. They choose the winter months for Nicaragua.

Scott is a retired building contractor. He has five children and 8 grandchildren. He has worked with Global Volunteers in Ecuador and Costa Rica and has worked with Habitat for Humanity in both the US and Guatemala. In 1994, Scott developed the first reciprocal program for Habitat for Humanity, bringing 11 Guatemalans to the US to build houses and raise awareness. He understands that philanthropy is more about what you receive than what you give.

Scott became involved in CREA in 2011 as a way to thank the Nicaraguan people for sharing their beautiful country, and as a way to involve himself in the local area. He is proud to be part of an organization that is promoting education, primarily literature, as the best way for the next generation to maximize their potential.

Favorite Book: Joyce Cary, “The Horse’s Mouth” and Beryl Markham, “West with the Night”

Steve Merritt, Board Chair

Realizing a long-time dream to work in development, Steve first came to Limón in 2010 as an intern for the Foundation for Sustainable Development, later becoming its local program coordinator. He worked to strengthen a local bakery and women’s sewing workshop. His key goal, however, was to create more interaction between the local and foreign communities, which resulted in the literacy effort which today is CREA.

Steve has started several small businesses and been self-employed for most of his life. For over 20 years, he consulted with small businesses and nonprofits.

He studied linguistics and has a master’s degree in business administration. He is passionate about languages and considers reading and continual learning true joys.

His favorite book is a toss-up between two very wise children’s books, “Owl at Home” and “Miss Rumphius.”


“CREA is also supported and guided by many other talented individuals who hold CREA near and dear to their hearts. Our work would not be possible without not only our Board of Directors, but also our Advisory Council, countless donors, and extraordinary volunteers.”

Michelle Chackerian, Treasurer

Michelle Chackerian is CREA’s Board Treasurer and a member of the organization’s founding Board of Directors. Michelle first came to Limón many years ago with her family and immediately fell in love with the town’s people, community, and passion for life. Michelle has worked with numerous grassroots organizations in rural Nicaragua, including the Foundation for Sustainable Development, where she funded an international internship program to bring cultural exchange and grants to the community. When visiting the homes and schools in the community, she noticed a lack of access to books and excitement for reading. An avid reader herself, she fell in love with the idea of helping to create a destination where children and adults can immerse themselves in reading and learning. She also noticed a need for youth development with a focus on leadership, education, and college access, and helped expand a small youth group into a strong CREA program. As the founder of a medical services company, BMC Diagnostics, Michelle provides critical operations and fund development support for the organization.
Favorite Book: Margaret Mitchell, “Gone with the Wind”

Scott Hagg, Secretary

Scott and his wife, Tessa Gunther, first visited Nicaragua in 2007 and they immediately fell in love with the country and its people. Since 2010 they have been spending about half of each year at their Nicaraguan home and half in Minnesota. They choose the winter months for Nicaragua.

Scott is a retired building contractor. He has five children and 8 grandchildren. He has worked with Global Volunteers in Ecuador and Costa Rica and has worked with Habitat for Humanity in both the US and Guatemala. In 1994, Scott developed the first reciprocal program for Habitat for Humanity, bringing 11 Guatemalans to the US to build houses and raise awareness. He understands that philanthropy is more about what you receive than what you give.

Scott became involved in CREA in 2011 as a way to thank the Nicaraguan people for sharing their beautiful country, and as a way to involve himself in the local area. He is proud to be part of an organization that is promoting education, primarily literature, as the best way for the next generation to maximize their potential.
Favorite Book: Joyce Cary, “The Horse’s Mouth” and Beryl Markham, “West with the Night”

Steve Merritt, Board Chair

Realizing a long-time dream to work in development, Steve first came to Limón in 2010 as an intern for the Foundation for Sustainable Development, later becoming its local program coordinator. He worked to strengthen a local bakery and women’s sewing workshop. His key goal, however, was to create more interaction between the local and foreign communities, which resulted in the literacy effort which today is CREA.
Steve has started several small businesses and been self-employed for most of his life. For over 20 years, he consulted with small businesses and nonprofits.
He studied linguistics and has a master’s degree in business administration. He is passionate about languages and considers reading and continual learning true joys.
His favorite book is a toss-up between two very wise children’s books, “Owl at Home” and “Miss Rumphius.”

“CREA is also supported and guided by many other talented individuals who hold CREA near and dear to their hearts. Our work would not be possible without not only our Board of Directors, but also our Advisory Council, countless donors, and extraordinary volunteers. This would be after the three officers, centered on the page. Everything else would be removed.”

5824 CLOVER DRIVE, OAKLAND, CA 94618

The Nicaraguan Education Resource Center is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  

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